Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Riley Sager: Home Before Dark


Riley Sager takes the readers along for a journey with a woman who has to face her past in order to move forward:

Twenty five years ago, Maggie and her family were forced to flee a house that they were convinced was haunted by an evil spirit. You may have read about it in the book, House of Horrors that Maggie's father released soon after they fled the home. This means that Maggie did grow up in a spot light a bit, seen as a survivor of a demonic house. Maggie thinks that it is a bunch of lies and it is not what she remembers about that time at all, though to be fair she does not remember much. When her father passes away and leaves her Baneberry Hall, she wants nothing to do with the house, she just wants to put some modern amenities in it and sell it to the highest bidder. But stepping into a place that she has not been in for 25 has consequences. When strange things begin to happen around the house, Maggie begins to think that everything written in House of Horrors may have been true.

This is the second book that I have read by Sager and I really enjoyed this book a lot more than Lock Every Door. I found that there was more suspenseful throughout the book instead of just the last eighth of the book. Sager really shines with the suspense and mystery aspect in this book and he has you going back and forth with what is happening in the house. I read this book after The Amityville Horror, late last year and I will say that Home Before Dark played out in a very similar fashion to this book, minus the priest involvement, and you could tell that there were certain ideas that Sager took from that book and placed in his, which I am okay with. I think it even made sense that he use The Amityville Horror book to shape what is wrote in House of Horrors, as that is what the book is compared to in this story. And really when it comes to a ghost or evil spirit based book, there are only so many new ideas that one can come up with to create the atmosphere that one is looking for in the book.

I liked that Sager had two points of views throughout the book with one of them being the book that Ewan Holt wrote when Maggie was a child. This added the context as to why Maggie hated the book and wanted to just be rid of the house that has followed her throughout her whole life. I enjoyed that the book revealed more of the oddities/strangeness/atmosphere that they experienced in the house as it also gave context as to why certain things were happening again and you wonder what will the spirit bring back next. The Polaroid picture aspect was truly terrifying that is for sure, I am also not sure I want to have my record player plugged in any time soon "She is 16, going on 17", I don't have that record but still no thank you.

I liked Maggie enough as a main character, but I found that this book was much more plot driven than character driven especially given the POV within the book.

This is the Sagar book that I was expecting when I had heard so many great things about his books. He weaves suspense and a creepy atmosphere throughout the book and I thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot wait to pick up another book by him.

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